European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES), an election observer, has urged the youth in Ondo State, who are eligible to vote, not to sell their votes and conscience in the forthcoming October 10, governorship election.
Dr Sylvestre Somo, Senior Project Officer of ECES, gave this advice on Thursday in Akure at the end of a two-day programme in partnership with the Independent National Electoral Commission for eligible young female voters in the state.
The programme was titled: “Awareness Creation for Young Female Voters Toward 2020 Governorship Election in Ondo State”.
Somo said it had become imperative for all the youth to participate in the forthcoming governorship election,
“especially those who have attained the age of 18 years in Ondo State”.
“The youth need to come out and vote. You are not going to gain anything if you fail to discharge your electoral rights; rather you have everything to lose if you don’t vote.
“So, you must come out to cast your votes. It is not even enough to just come out, you also need to come out and vote wisely to choose the candidate of your choice.
“You should be very clear of what you want from the voting. As young people, you desire employment, good education and good things of life.
“Also, you need to avoid temptation of selling your votes because if you sell your votes today, you have sold your future for tomorrow, which is not a wise thing to do,” he said.
The ECES project officer, therefore, advised the youth to shun violence and embrace peace before, during and after the election in the state.
“You as a youth must avoid violence, it doesn’t help and it destroys the electoral process, it leads to loss of human life and damage of property.
“So, it is not a wise thing, we should see election not as war but as a celebration of peace,” he said.
Blessing Obidiegwu, Deputy Director, Gender, INEC, who appreciated the ECES for its partnership, said the commission was fully committed to providing a level playing field for all stakeholders to be part of the process.
Obidiegwu said that purposeful and enlightened participation of young women to galvanise the required actions would promote enduring democratic values and culture in the country.
“As a demonstration of its commitment and abiding faith in young women as a target group, commission has made it a tradition to always engage with the young, both male and female, especially during elections,” she said.